Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Not Just Dreaming But Doing

Do you ever find yourself going through the motions of life for months, even years, without any definitive goal except for survival?  Is it just me?  At the end of 2006, our son was born, and about every 18 months since then we’ve welcomed another lovely addition to our family.  We’ve had a perpetual toddler.  Our mounds of laundry grow larger each year, our bank account smaller.  Our goals have been to do the best we can with what we’ve been given.  However, this non-specific goal left us near-defeated by the end of our long, busy days, facing the doom of getting up the next morning to repeat it all over again.  Life goes by so quickly that there are moments that my husband and I look at each other in disbelief that we have all these kids!

Now, I have accomplished much in life…before kids.  I won awards, was always at the top of my class, held down a job or two at a time, and somehow had time to serve others.  Perhaps I used all of my life’s allotted energy in my earlier years?   Yes, energy levels and responsibility levels are different, but there’s another difference.  I used to set goals.

Before you stop reading and think great, just another post about New Year resolutions, that’s not what I’m talking about.  It just so happens that at the end of the year, we start reflecting on the good and bad and resolve to change all that went wrong.  I didn’t lose as much weight last year as before, so I resolve to do it this year.  Nope. That’s just not enough for me.  I have to roadmap it. 

The truth is that I have a responsibility to teach my little guys and girl (eventually) to set goals for themselves.  Proverbs 29:18 says “Without vision, a people perish.”  If we do not know where we’re going, we’re never going to get there.  We can have the best intentions in the world, but they will remain intentions unless there is a declaration (or resolution), a goal, a plan to achieve that goal, and a time frame.  This is a goal formula I used to follow and it has been responsible for some great success.  Now, it’s time to revive it and pass it on.

Family meeting time!  Our kids loved goal setting.  Their resolve was oozing out of their ears. I’m going to play baseball everyday and be the best baseball player ever and play on the Indians.  Yes, my dear 4-year-old, that’s a lofty one!  I want to feed all the orphans in the world.  Ah-my 6-year-old is a kindred spirit of mine!  We let them go on and on, enjoying hearing the high hopes held in the heart of a child.  Then we explained we’re going to roadmap our goals and commit to a plan to get us there.  Silence.  Silence, followed by a change of goals.  Suddenly, they became more realistic.

Our boys are learning something about change.  First, we have to be intentional about what we want to change or improve.  Second, we must have a plan to accomplish those changes.  Third, accountability helps a lot. 

It took awhile, but we listed and planned out our family and individual goals for 2013.  We listed several and planned how we’ll get there.  We incorporated those wonderful high hopes into a list of things that they want to accomplish eventually.  Instead of playing on the Indians this year, we tweaked our little guy’s goal to something he can work on to get him there some day.  Instead of feeding all the orphans in the world this year, we talked about what we could realistically do to make an impact in some kids lives.

One of my goals is to learn how to do everything without grumbling or complaining.  My plan includes starting a gratitude journal and writing in it everyday.  I am using prompts from Ann Voskamp’s “One Thousand Gifts.”  Every day I think through her prompts and list what I’m thankful for.  It’s amazing how practicing gratitude changes our perception!

I’m excited about 2013.  I feel like a fog has lifted and survival is no longer our end goal.  While there are days (plenty of them) when that’s all we can do, I want to run this race the best I can.  It’s hard to run a race wisely when we can’t see the finish line.

So, here’s to 2013!  Here’s to goal setting once again!  Here’s to the excitement of future success!  Here’s to watching my family accomplish great things through the grace of God!

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:12-14


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